Four Poems
Kristen Orser

New Accounts of Selfhood

When I find you,
you are me.

a ditty between us:
the lime I
squeezed, the song

I woke up with
that song in my head,
that one about Vermont.
And I wasn't

aware of your mouth
when I closed the window.
You asked how it feels

when wind blows in my skirt.
I wrote in my diary --

so much
to be afraid of:
my letter writing friend
is dead.

So what do we sing?
The doorbell, doorknock,
I need you now.

That Was a Pity

Simply, vocabulary as echo
is even afraid

of its own mirrors. Ten
different ways:

Tragic. Tragical. Tragicomic. Tragicomical.

We're on and off --

Poisoned book lung
of an untried woman:

A strange cloistered virtue will lash its tails and claw
the woman in the dream vision, the woman
who acts like blood poison.

It would be a mistake: I choose
to tell and what I do not choose to tell tangles itself,

rides six horses, and breaks engagements.

Someitmes vocabulary is a warm friend. I cannot
suppose the Queen of Dears, the falcon -- What

is mirrored in the reflection of the reflection?

At the Same Time

We heave home
a potbellied miracle: Did you

I expected

this season, not --
Wonderful sugar, troubles, the wreck
of an old man in a baseball cap. I am

surprised the geese
don't squeeze each other and exhume,

explode, explain. I suspect

Core of the Apple

For the purposes of coming into noise, I open

my mouth. This makes me not unlike a comma -- a pause that is the shape of something
vulnerable. My stomach

is usually sour so it's difficult to concentrate, to count coins, to remember my mother
is dead. Really, when I gave up meat

I gave up decorum. Caterpillars ate right through

the leaves of the tree outside my window and it made me think about the likeliness of
anyone believing I had anything important to say. At parties

I stand next to the window, comment on how good fresh air feels. This makes me more like
the couch and less like the girl

someone wants to kiss or deprive of oxygen. The inner needs

are produced in a kitchen, are called berries. Because there is no sense in our language
or the plurality

of syllables. Sometimes I just change the vowel and say far less than anyone thought I
would say. The actual body is a period

of war. The actual body is a dialogue. Bits and pieces of broken glass from the jars I
use to pickle beets, the jars I want to use to pickle all my afterthoughts.